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drinking bird
Shimoda seemed a relatively quiet town. They have a helpful Tourist Information office, where I got lots of brochures, bus schedules and maps. I took the recommended walk through town and saw the usual temples and shrines, but nothing remarkable. It has a busy harbor.

Of course, the bay has totally changed since the days of commodore Perry.

I took a cross country bus from Shimoda to Dogashima on the western Izu coast. It was a nice ride, as the mountains and forests of Izu are very pretty. Unfortunately, public buses do not stop for photo ops!

In Dogashima, you can take an excursion boat to sight see along the coast, which I duly did. It was a fun and interesting trip. The coast is attractive, with lots of little islands [slightly reminiscent of Matsushima], and many natural caves.

cave entrances

a low arch

the interior of a cave

Next, I traveled to Shuzenji up in the interior. It is where Yoritomo and Masoko escaped to when her father opposed their marriage. It is the site of a old temple founded by Kobo Dashi. It also has the grave of Minamoto no Noriyori, a younger brother of Yoritomo's, obliged in 1194 to commit suicide, and of Yoritomo's son Yoriie. The latter was poisoned by order of his Hojo grandfather for showing too much independence as a young shogun. Clearly, being a brother of Yoritomo's and possible rival was dangerous. Yoshitsune had already died because of it. And then later the Hojo clan was avid for power and ruthless.

This is the view to the right from my balcony at the ryokan, overlooking the Katsura river/

and looking to the left. There is a  small bamboo grove across the river.

The Arai ryokan where I stayed dates to the Meiji era and is very traditional. It has lovely buildings connected by bridges and galleries, with pretty gardens.

I will continue soon with Shuzenji.

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Wow, this looks quite similar to where I live o__O; ....
Nice photos :D

Thanks! You must live in a very pretty place... I did enjoy Shuzenji. Izu in general is peaceful and pretty.

Did you ever read Kawabata's "the Dancing Girl of Izu"?

Well, actually the ocean is over an hour away, but there it looks like in your photos :)
Around my apartment it doesn't look nice at all.

No. Is it good?

It is a nice, essentially autobiographical short story. It is not in the class of some of his novels, like "Snow Country" or "Thousand Cranes".

Wow, I really love your Izu pics! Brings back memories for me to the NHK taiga Yoshitsune drama, actually. Your pics are so beautiful and probably don't do justice to seeing the real thing in person, especially the cave ones.

And wow...this Arai ryokan where you stayed is really beautiful w/lush greenery and serene gardens around. I long to stay at a ryokan...never did in my life before. About the only thing I did was stay at onsen hotels...that's all.

Beautiful Katsura river btw. ♥ Thank you for always sharing your lovely photos of your travels to Japan.

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